Wendy & Shane March 31st 2011 Wedding details:
Package: Dreams of Love
Ceremony: Legal Extras: Photographer
Arrival/ Check in and rooms: This was my first time being at an all-inclusive resort anywhere, I have travelled alot around the world but never to a resort so I donâ€™t know how much comparing and help I can be but here it goes.
When we arrived I thought the resort looked pretty and clean it was impressive to drive up to, the lobby was pretty but smaller in size and nothing overwhelmingly beautiful, once you walk out onto the lobby terrace and onto the gardens it is wonderful! We were upgraded to a better gardenview room which wasnâ€™t the honeymoon suite but was apparently larger then the basic gardenview room, we were told the Honeymoon suite was available for an extra $60 per night so we went with it, it wasnâ€™t much of a suite at all, it had a large bed with a little sitting room down a few steps, a walk in closet and a large Jacuzzi tub (which was nice!!). It wasnâ€™t oceanview, for the amount of time we were in our room it wasnâ€™t necessary to spend the extra on basically the same room as the others with a few steps down to a few chair and a small coffee table. Room was clean but looked a bit worn (not sure how old this resort is??). The room wasnâ€™t near our guests, we were in the building directly to the left of the lobby (when facing the ocean). The night of the wedding was a disappointment, I had heard that the tub would be filled and have rose petals, it wasnâ€™t, there were no chocolates, champagne, candles, nothing. That was kind of disappointing given that we brought 40 guests to the resort and spent a ton of money. The bride and groom could be given a bit more considering!
It took us about 2 hours on the bus to get to the resort from Cancun. Some people think this is too far away BUT I felt like it was perfect if you are looking for a quieter resort with a private beach. This resort catered to couples and families rather than major party types and springbreakers. I thought that was prefect because it was easy to relax, it wasnâ€™t busy anywhere, we never had to wait for anything. Beach chairs were a bit hard to come by if you waited a long time but we always ended up getting at least 4 together on any day. There is not another resort within a few miles of Dreams so the only people walking around on the beach are those staying there. The beach can be walked for miles without coming to another resort.
Another great thing about this location was that there were so many great things to do and see within a short distance. Also since we brought a photographer she went out scouting for â€œtrash the dressâ€ locations during the week and found some awesome spots: the Tulum beach and boutique hotel area, a local small village with brightly colored houses lining the street, clear blue cenotes with brightly colored fish, the market in Tulum, abandoned churches (roadside) and lots of others. We spent the whole day after the wedding off the resort at these location shooting photos.
All the restaurants at the resort were wonderful, we had alot of guests who are foodies and who travel alot and are picky about quality, they couldnâ€™t say enough about the food. Especially liked the French and Italian restaurants. I love love loved the sushi!! The world cafe was very good too, especially for breakfast, a huge selection!! The seaside grill had great food as well, I enjoyed the nachos poolside almost daily
The beach was very nice, so private, a bit rocky while your walking into the water at times but nothing too bad. The water was a beautiful blue, the sand is nice but is more course and has alot of crushed shell. The beach at playa del Carmen was really nice and powdery.
We reserved the back part of the world cafe (buffet) for our rehearsal dinner and it was all set up right in time when we got there, we helped ourselves to the buffet, which was awesome. Didnâ€™t do anything special for the event just figured it was nice for one night for us all to have one night to eat together, they set up 2 long tables of 20.
Resort Photographer â€“
If photography is really important to you do not get this guy to do your photos. I brought my own photographer with us so I didnâ€™t need or want the resort photographer however on the day of the wedding they called my room to ask when we wanted him, I tried to tell them over and over to not bother, have the day off, because we had our own but they would not take no for an answer, at all!! Iâ€™m assuming they donâ€™t get paid unless a photo is taken so they were very pushy on the phone, I ended up settling to let them come and take photos of our couples during the cocktail party while we were away with our photographer. When we went to look at the photos I saw that he did end up taking a few pics of the wedding, they were not impressive and looked washed out, BUT, like I said if your a photography buff like me then you will want someone professional, these looked like a friend took them, although for some people that is just fine.
Spa â€“ Makeup/Hair:
Wedding Day Rosalee â€“ I brought in a picture of what i wanted, she didnâ€™t speak English at all so I was pretty worried about her understanding what I was saying, I told her I didnâ€™t want any curls and she immediately started in with ringlets, I again said that I did not want that but she was insisting that it would â€œfall.â€ Be careful, it seemed like all the ladies in the spa doing hair were very fond of the tight curl, you would have to say NO curl if your really didnâ€™t want any cause i think they tighly curl it thinking it will give body and will eventually fall out, mine didnâ€™t losen at all, they put a ton of hairspray in it. She was very good with re-direction thought, she wasnâ€™t doing like in the picture so I would re-direct her to it and show her how it went and she would quickly fix it, in the end it looked amazing !!!! Way better then the trial I got at home, but I knew what I wanted and I gently told her and directed her to it. She took 2 and a half hours to do it, she was so meticulous and a real sweetie. Give yourself time, I got my hair started at 12:30 and it wasnâ€™t done until 2:45-ish, then I had to go back to the room do my own makeup and get married at 3:30. It was a bit rushed for the photographer but it worked out ok. I had a trial at MAC for makeup before I left and got them to show me exactly how to do it, bought everything and I thought it turned out amazing, I had a primer that made the makeup last the whole night through heat and humidity, even intact after jumping in the water!!
My mom and my MOH had their hair done by an older (50â€™s) woman and she was rude and curled the heck out of both their hair, they both had to go and re-do it. She would NOT be directed at all, in fact she told one of them she had 35 yrs experience and knew what she was doing when they politely said they didnâ€™t care for one part of the style. Yikes! Good thing I didnâ€™t get her!!
Wedding Coordinator: Natalia - A
I had alot of communication with Natalia before we arrived at the resort and she had everything I had asked for, knew all the details and didnâ€™t miss a beat. She had all the prices and quotes the same as she had emailed so we had nothing bad to say about her. The only thing was that I told her my mom might come and help her set up the reception just to oversee that it was how i wanted which she said was more than fine, but when my mom went there she told her to leave and that she would do it. They really donâ€™t want you to be doing anything. We had an intro meeting with her a few days before the wedding I gave her all my decor, favors etc and she took it all seeming to know exactly how it all went together, I had drawn out a seating plan and a sketch of how I wanted the ceremony flowers. They are truly experts at coordinating weddings â€“ she guided us through all the details. On the day of the wedding Natalia and an assistant came to get me in my room they also had another girl on a walkie talkie with the rest of the group, it was all very organized and they were very respectful and tried to keep me in private until the time to walk out. There was some sort of loud entertainment going on at the pool right before the wedding and I was panicking that it would continue through the ceremony as it was right beside the beach location. When I talked to Natalia about it she said not to worry it would not be going on during the ceremony and it quickly ended! I was so grateful! Not only are they organized but they were respectful as well!
Resort Flowers: B
The centerpiece arrangements were a medium size, I asked for 4 (one per table) and then I had my bouquet on our head table with a glass vase Natalia provided. They didnâ€™t look like in the brochure/wedding book at all! They were very pretty in the book, but these were more basic and had large pink lilies in them, not what I would have picked but they were ok. My bouquet was custom, and cost $420 I had sent two pictures of bouquets I saw on the internet and asked them to merge the two, was very specific about colors and flowers and they were gorgeous, also they looked fresh, no browning at all. It was also a nice large rounded size, I was so sad to leave it two days later cause it still looked great, luckily my parents were staying an extra week so they got to enjoy it. I had, orchids, tulips, peonies and ranunculas.
The readings from the judge we short and quite specific but we also found a reading for my husbands brother to read, and I also found a nice reading for the judge to read as we exchanged rings, we also read our own vows. I was glad we added in or it would have been about a 10 minute ceremony. The judge was ok, she was a bit nervous and seemed a little unprepared about what she was reading but it went alright, also we rented the sound system ( a must!!) so our guests could actually hear it all which was great. We played a song while guests were seated, a song when bridesmaid and groom and best man walked down, separate song when I walked down , then a song while we signed the register and then a final song when we walked out. I asked for tulle to be draped along with sides of the wooden canopy in addition to the small white wrapping they already provide, it was $350 and did not look like the picture I provided, it was quite a small amount of tulle and didnâ€™t look well done, I brought silk orchid and plumeria garland that we intertwined and draped on the canopy as well, they ended up hanging the extra garland that was a single color on as well and it looked really sloppy and weird, when I saw it I was embarrassed and wanted to get everyone out of the area. Anyway, it was partially my fault I guess for not sending my mom to make sure it didnâ€™t look bad, she did say her friends were there telling them not to put those on but they told them to leave. That was really my only problem with the whole wedding, especially cause I drew a colored sketch of it that could not have been more detailed and it didnâ€™t look like it. The problem is also that they get the yard guys to do alot of it and they arenâ€™t exactly decorators.
Cocktail Hour: beach
We were gone during this for photos so I actually donâ€™t know how it went. We had 40 guests but only got enough champagne and food for 20 as in the package so Iâ€™m not sure how it all went, many of us were gone for group photos at that time and many also went off to the pool bar during that time so I think it was fine.
Reception: Seaside Grill
We had 5 round tables of 8 in a semi-circle with the dancing in the middle, the wind blinds were down so it was private and windproof but also still fresh air and access to the pool bar. It could not have been a better place to have the reception , the evening was very very windy and I had alot of things on the tables, menu cards, place cards etc so everything would have blown away. It was also nice to have the dancing in the middle. The music was with our ipod, everyone loved the dancing even the bartenders got in there dancing and running around with shots for everyone, taking shots themselves. The reception was decorated just how I wanted, I had asked for pom poms to be hung and they had to hang and fluff out about 25 of them! During the night they servers asked us continually if everything was ok and were always there with fresh drinks and whatever we wanted, the service could not have been better that way. The meal was very small but everything was good, we had the vol au vant appetizer, flank steak and grilled vegetable and the fruit tart with amaretto mousse for dessert. The dessert tasted like a frozen tart with whipped cream, nothing special, as it sounded but it was ok. The cake was very tasty it was supposed to be plain chocolate with no filling but it ended up being layered with some sort of coffee flavoured mousse, it was tasty but horrible to look at, NOT at all like the picture, I even asked for the gold menu cake upgrade because I wanted the flowers on it like in the picture, but it wasnâ€™t like the pictures and the white icing which looks like fondant in the picture was not fondant, it was icing and it wasnâ€™t evenly distributed, anyways, not a huge deal unless you were hoping for a cool picture of the cake, I told the photographer not even to photograph it .
Photographer: Krista Fox- Verve Photo Toronto A+++
Canâ€™t say enough about Krista, she is a dream to work with, so warm and friendly, well travelled and researched the area thoroughly before coming here. She knew exactly where she could and could not shoot, what she needed permits for (the Tulum ruins) and what we had to pay for (cenotes). She took a few days to scout some amazing locations, drove off road and found the most amazing cenotes tucked down the winding gravel road that was full of fish with crystal clear blue water! I canâ€™t thank her enough for coming, sharing in our day and documenting our dream wedding through her lens, her work speaks for itself!
Lessons learned: If I knew what I know now -
Stay an extra week because we were sooooo busy we hardly had time to meet with guests and relax.
Get the hair done earlier, it wonâ€™t fall because you will be inside anyways in the air conditioning and they use alot of hair spray. If you have long hair it will take a long time for the updo, budget at least 2.5 hrs just for hair, have time for makeup and relax time before you are supposed to be going down the aisle.
Donâ€™t bother with a golden menu cake, they donâ€™t look like the pictures anyways, on the positive side they do taste great!
4. Bring alot of cash so you can pay the coordinator in the first meeting for everything you need to pay for, the judge fee, marriage cert translation etc, this will save you time from having to waste time tracking her down at other times and meeting with her more then needed! Plus you have to have $250 for the Dr for the blood tests. If you could arrange to get this all done and paid for in one meeting, give over all your decorations in the meeting then you should be free for the rest of the time until the wedding.
5. Donâ€™t fall for the â€œVIPâ€ info sessions and VIP coupons they tell you you can get if you come to listen to them, its a time share talk, they want thousands of dollars and some friends got stuck in a conference room with a bunch of others listening to this talk for a few hours.
Overall, it is so well planned, the food is amazing, the drinks are even better, the sun was fabulous, we had awesome weather everyday! The wedding will go off without a hitch and you will love the resort as long as your looking for a quieter smaller resort this oneâ€™s for you!!
If you have questions please ask, iâ€™m still on the post wedding high so Iâ€™m not sure if I covered everything....
Here is the link the my photographs, this is a few from the wedding day I will re-post when she puts up photos from the trash the dress , I canâ€™t wait!!! http://www.vervephotoco.com/blog/wendy-shane-dreams-tulum-resort/